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Chiefs player ratings vs Moana Pasifika | Super Rugby Pacific

By Ned Lester
Damian McKenzie with ball in hand for The Chiefs. Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images

The Chiefs strolled into Melbourne on a high from their Crusaders-toppling performance last week in Christchurch. Moana however were hoping to avoid slipping into a naught from two start after falling short in a close contest against the Fijian Drua in round one.


Moana showed plenty of intent early to play and string phases together through their dominant ball runners but were let down by handling errors.

The Chiefs look like a team with impressive chemistry, rolling from innovative set-piece play to off-the-cuff phase play fluently. While the Waikato side was out-matched physically in numerous positions, they covered ground well and their smaller players tackled strongly.

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The Chiefs ran for 280 meters in the first half alone and suffocated Moana for a halftime score of 38-3.

The second 40 was a more positive affair for Moana, who managed to hang onto the ball and mount pressure close to the Chiefs’ line, scoring the first two tries of the period.

The Chiefs managed to strike back while Brad Weber was in the bin for a deliberate knock-on, but ill-discipline continued to creep into the Chiefs game late and Moana profited from the territory and personnel advantage.

A hefty injury toll for Moana meant the side had to spend the final 15 minutes of the game with just 14 men on the field. Both teams furthered their score during that period and the game finished 52-19 in favour of the Chiefs.


Here’s how the Chiefs rated:

1. Ollie Norris – 7.5

The Chiefs rolled out a front row with an average age just shy of 24, so the scrum dominance they achieved will have Waikato fans very excited about what the future holds. Norris showed good mobility when chasing agile attackers and had a couple of runs where he was determined to make meters.

2. Samisoni Taukei’aho – 8.5


Effortless accuracy at the lineout as always (bar one miscommunication), delivering deep throws that put his team in strong attacking positions. Made a huge amount of post-contact meters with the ball in hand and continues to develop his offload game, which promises to be another very productive tool in Taukei’aho’s already standout skillset.

3. George Dyer – 7

A fundamentally strong outing for Dyer in his tenth showing for the Chiefs. Contributing a strong foundation at set piece and quiet but efficient elsewhere.

4. Brodie Retallick – 8

Retallick had the Chiefs’ set piece firing, his side nailed the fundamentals while he was on and built their play from that base. Big Brodie was active around the ruck, applying pressure at the breakdown and slowing down Moana’s ball. Found himself offside when chasing a return kick to start the second 40, gifting Moana a scoring opportunity which they scored with.

5. Tupou Vaa’i – 8

Was perhaps the only Chiefs player who managed to bother Timoci Tavatavanawai in the contact and his physicality was denting throughout the contest. Did well to navigate such a fast match and impose himself throughout without showing any signs of fatigue. A safe pair of hands in the lineout.

6. Pita Gus Sowakula – 6.5

Penalised early for a high tackle and was unlucky to incur his second penalty shortly after, resulting in Moana’s first points of the game. Ran hard all night and found some great lines but was let down by a couple of handling errors.

7. Sam Cane – 8.5

The All Black captain had a busy night out, placing himself in the middle of Moana’s favourite running channels and taking on a heap of heavy contact. His leadership was missed after he exited the field as Moana built momentum and the Chiefs’ discipline worsened.

8. Luke Jacobson – 8.5

A great hesitation set Sowakula away for Weber’s try. Jacobson’s light touches in close channels were all very productive for the Chiefs. In the second 40 when Moana had some more attacking opportunities, Jacobson’s strength as a tackler stood out as he dominated various contacts. Will be disappointed to have had such a scrappy performance in th second half as he assumed the captaincy over that period.


9. Brad Weber – 8

Exceptional work from the base of the ruck, delivering crisp and accurate passes for his runners with good timing. Made some questionable decisions when deviating from his passing game. Ran great support lines. Received a yellow in the 50th minute and didn’t return.

10. Damian McKenzie – 9

Copped an early shot to the face in an attempt to tackle Timoci Tavatavanawai but fired a beautiful flat pass out to the wing shortly after which set Liam Coombes-Fabling away for the Chiefs’ second try. McKenzie’s well-rounded skillset was on full display, setting up players with an array of kicks.

11. Etene Nanai-Seturo – 6.5

Won a turnover early but saw very little ball on his wing for most of the match. Provided impressive physicality in his defensive collisions.

12. Rameka Poihipi – 7

Could not have asked for a better start to the game, intercepting the first pass of the game and breaking a tackle to score in the opening 10 seconds. Was consistent in his tackling throughout and took the ball to the line well on occasion.

13. Alex Nankivell – 8

Nankerville again showed his immense work rate on both sides of the ball, not allowing Moana’s midfield to have their way as they did at times in round one and then twisting and pivoting through a number of lengthy carries.

14. Liam Coombes-Fabling – 7.5

Ran in the Chiefs’ second and retrieved a few Moana kicks but like Nanai-Seturo, saw limited attacking opportunities in the first 40. Impressively slotted into halfback with Weber in the bin and then again when Ratima was sent to the sideline.

15. Shaun Stevenson

Stevenson has been the first to admit that consistency will be the key to how far he goes in the game, and so far the fullback is two from two in 2023. He simply makes the most of all opportunities that come his way, which in this particular game, made for a hat-trick. His hefty kicking ability provided a number of lengthy exits.


16. Tyrone Thompson – 7

The 22-year-old provided the most Super Rugby experience in the front row cover for the Chiefs. Was lucky not to see yellow late but provided good impact off the bench

17. Jared Proffit – 6

Chiefs Debut

18. John Ryan – 6.5

19. Laghlan McWhannell – 6

20. Simon Parker – 5.5

21. Cortez Ratima – 5

Ratima’s deliveries were crisp out of the hand but often came after the halfback had carried for a couple of steps, which didn’t suit the game’s pace. Received a yellow card for tackling before retreating ten meters reacting to a quick tap.

22. Bryn Gatland – 6.5

23. Ngatungane Punivai – 6


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